By Robert Balajadia
The Okkodo Bulldogs have never won a regular season football game since the school opened back in August 2008. First year head coach Danny Cepeda made quick history of that record by leading his boys to a 7-0 win over the Southern High Dolphins at the Bulldogs home field Friday during high school football’s opening night.
“Even though it was seven to zero I’ll take the win, it was our first regular season win ever. We made a milestone tonight,” Cepeda stated proudly.
The best offense for the Bulldogs was their defense as both teams failed to score an offensive touchdown. The biggest play came early in the first quarter off a game changing punt returned for touchdown by Bulldogs Calvin Muna.
The Dolphins were unable to move the chains on their first drive so they were forced to punt the ball back to the Bulldogs. Muna caught the ball in their territory and looked to have little room to run with a Dolphins defender closing in on him. Muna then sprinted towards one of his teammates who cleaned the Dolphins defender giving Muna time to accelerate, switch fields and run in untouched for the games first and only points.
“I can’t get a good return like that if my teammates weren’t there. I knew it was a big turning point but our defense needed to step up because defense wins championships and games,” stated Muna.
Both teams are going to head back to the drawing board and figure out their struggles one offense as the Bulldogs were 0-7 on offensive drives while the Dolphins went 0-9. Neither team had a good third down percentage either as the Bulldogs completed only 1-8 third downs while the Dolphin went 0-10.
The Dolphins, however, performed better under pressure going 3-6 on fourth down conversions but neither resulted in any points. The ball was clearly difficult to hang on to due to a series of bobbling, slipping and awkward thrown spirals.
Dolphins quarterback Ray Taimanglo nearly led a late comeback on Southern High’s final drive hitting a receiver a few yards away from the red zone with 57 seconds to spare. A couple of penalty calls pushed the Dolphins back further forcing Taimanglo to scramble for positive yardage but none proving enough to significantly move the chains.
The win for the Bulldogs will be short celebrated as Cepeda is looking to make the theme “winning” one that football fans on Guam can associate with the Okkodo football program. He gives a lot of credit to his coaching staff in getting the short-handed Bulldogs football team ready for game day.
Along with his admiration for his staff, Cepeda is more than grateful to see the youth getting involved with football.
“We have to send a big thank you to Guam National Youth Football Federation (GNYFF) because they are the ones preparing these kids to play football in high school,” stated Cepeda.
On the offensive struggles, Cepeda went on to say, “Our offense has to help put points up. It’s the first game so these guys needed to shake off early game jitters but we will clean it up. Come next week though against John F. Kennedy we should be able to put more points on the board and hopefully come out with another win. We are only going to get better after each game we play.”
The Dolphins will play the George Washington Geckos next weekend, who have a first week bye, while the rest of the high school football games will continue Saturday night.
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